The first is from the Dallas City Hall website, and shows the current City Council configurations. The second is the map adopted by council Wednesday. Six of the 15 votes were cast against the new map, including those of Oak Cliff representatives Delia Jasso in District 1 and Scott Griggs in District 3. (The DMN breaks down the vote and the proceedings on their City Hall blog.)
The two districts currently comprising Oak Cliff, Districts 1 and 3, changed drastically in the approved map. The new District 1 would comprise approximately all of north Oak Cliff, from Interstate 30 to Illinois, and from Interstate 35 to a western boundary that jags around Cockrell Hill City.
District 3, which Scott Griggs represents, no longer would include any of West Dallas. And Griggs’s house in Stevens Park would not even be in the new District 3. Worse for the residents of Oak Cliff, Griggs says, is that the Kiest Park/Wynnewood area would be split into three districts. The area north of Illinois would be in District 1. The area southwest of Illinois and Hampton would be in District 3, and everything southeast of that intersection would become District 4, now Dwaine Caraway’s district.
Griggs also was unhappy that Mayor Mike Rawlings excluded him from a meeting with Jasso and Tennell Atkins, which the mayor had called in an attempt to find a compromise.
“The mayor was wrong to keep me from the meeting that altered the map since District 3 was so affected,” he says.
Although the population of the new District 1, the north Oak Cliff district, is about 73 percent voting-age Hispanic, Jasso says she thinks the district could be at risk of losing its Hispanic representative.
“Kessler Park and Stevens Park are high-voter turnout,” she says. “And Hispanics in the district might be less likely to vote.”
New population data from the 2010 Census required a redrawing of the city’s 14 council districts. Oak Cliff resident Bill Betzen, who submitted his own redistricting map and has closely followed the process on his blog, Dallas Redistricting 2011, is a proponent of “compact” council districts rather than linear, spread out and, he says, “gerrymandered” council districts. The map voted on yesterday is an improvement on the current map, Betzen says, in that 43.5 miles is the average parameter of the current council districts, and new map average is 35.6 miles. However, Betzen says, the new map council approved is “much more gerrymandered than almost all of 21 maps submitted by the public. When the public draws maps, they don’t gerrymander like politicians do.” Betzen believes a lawsuit will be filed against the adopted map because it “grossly under-represents the Hispanic population.”
Rachel Stone contributed to this report.
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